The sprawling Kodanad estate in the Blue Mountains (Nilgiris) seems to have lost all its peace after the death of its famous owner. Seven months since the passing of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, the 900-acre estate is ensconed in mystery yet again.
Dinesh Kumar, an accountant working in the estate, allegedly committed suicide on Monday night at his house in Kengarai Naduhatty, near Kil Kotagiri, 25km away from the lush green tea estates.
A science graduate, 26-year old Dinesh was working as an accountant-cum-computer operator at the estate for five years, and had not reported to the office for the past two weeks due to medical reasons.
Dinesh was found hanging from a fan on a saree on Monday night around 10:30pm by his mother and sister. Though he was brought down alive, the doctors at Kotagiri government hospital declared him dead on arrival.
According to sources, Dinesh had access to Jayalalithaa and Sasikala whenever they visited the estate. He was handling the accounts and had knowledge about various deals that took place in the estate, in addition to the details of several documents related to other benami properties.
His death, which comes two months after the murder of Om Bahadur—a security guard who was stationed at gate number 9 of the estate—has raised several questions.
However, the police, on the basis of preliminary investigations, said it was a clear case of suicide. "Dinesh had not gone to office for the past 15 days due to medical reasons. He was losing his eyesight and had recently undergone a surgery for both eyes. There seems to be no mystery in his death and nothing suspicious as reported in the media. It was an unnatural death. We are investigating,” says Ooty SP Murali Rambha.
The body was handed over to the family. “There is no connection between the murder of the security guard and Dinesh’s suicide,” clarified Rambha. A case has been registered under Section 174 CrPc (unnatural death) by the Kotagiri police station and further investigations are on to find the cause of the alleged suicide.
Meanwhile, investigations in the security guard's murder case hit a road block after the death of Jayalalithaa’s former driver and prime suspect Kanagaraj; another accused K.V. Sayan was grievously injured in a similar accident.
In April, the police had zeroed in on five suspects and detained three—Satheesan, Shibu and Santhosh—from Kerala, in connection with the murder case. The official statement released by the Ooty police had confirmed that the murder was part of a dacoity mission. The police had stated that only five watches and a crystal showpiece were stolen from the estate.
But interestingly, the watches produced by the police did not seem to be as expensive as it had been suspected.
In fact, according to highly placed sources close to the estate, there were several incriminating documents inside the bungalow. This is said to be one of the major reasons for the breakout on April 4, and the murder on the same day.
And now with Dinesh’s alleged suicide, the mystery is set to deepen.